All Articles Tagged "media"

Dead Issue: Are Women’s Magazines Still Viable?

July 22nd, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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In college, I couldn’t wait each month for the new issues of women’s magazines to hit the newsstand. I’d rush to get the latest copies of Glamour, Mademoiselle, Elle, Allure, Vogue, Cosmo. Sure, I drooled over the fashions and give myself a makeover with the new season’s beauty tips, but I also devoured the articles, which covered everything from vital health issues to life-changing experiences.  The articles were informative, inspiring and insightful. They were also well-written, serious journalism.

But for some, serious journalism doesn’t equate with women’s magazines, and recently Slate pondered why. Port magazine’s discussion last month on the importance of print magazines was void of input from women’s magazine editors who are mostly women, and, by the way, get paid $15,000 less than male editors,  according to Folio magazine’s annual compensation survey. (h/t) Insulted by the Port omission, editors and contributors to women’s magazines launched a hashtag — #womenatlength — to share their greatest works on Twitter. And Slate went on to theorize that the reason why men don’t take women’s publications seriously is due to article length; men’s mags tend to run longer (and thus presumably more in-depth) articles. And, as the site points out, we know the value men give to length.

Moreover, the sales for magazine’s targeted to women continue to drop. Magazine sales were down across the board 8.2 percent in the second half of 2012, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. But it is the women’s magazine segment that suffered the most. “Among the top 25 magazines according to newsstand sales, women’s titles and celebrity glossies took the deepest dives,” reports WWD. Cosmopolitan, Hearst’s highest-selling magazine, dropped 18.5 percent to 1.2 million copies, Glamour declined 14.5 percent to 402,000 copies, and Elle declined 11.8 percent to 213,000. Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue also dropped.

Consumers might not be buying print versions of women’s magazines not because they are not impressed with the quality or interested by the topics, but could be lured away by electronic versions. That’s what Shafonne Myers, founder and CEO of Pretty Pear Bride for plus-sized brides, thinks.

“I’ve seen a significant drop in our print sales, granted we are not distributed in stores across the globe but we have a large online presence and we have experienced a tremendous growth in our digital magazine downloads as compared to our print magazine sales,” Myers tells us. “Honestly, I think it is because women are just more comfortable with digital magazines and enjoy the convenience of having the magazines immediately, especially in the bridal realm. It’s way easier for a bride to be able to flip through a digital bridal magazines and pin what she likes or share it with her friends, planner, hairstylist, etc. if it’s digital.”

Myers might be on to something. A recent MPA Magazine Media Readers and Smartphones survey found 84 percent of those polled read digital magazines on their cell phones, with women being a significant segment. “Apple iPhones are dominant at 61%, especially among women (64%) versus men (58%) and higher [household] income consumers — 70% for $100,000+ compared to those making under $50,000 (52%).” Magazine readers aged 18-to-34 were polled in 2012.

As sales do continue to drop, you would think the magazines would start trying to reach a broader audience. Where is the outreach to women of color? It certainly isn’t being done with print magazines. Take a look at the round of September covers—not a woman of color of any of the mammoth fall issues. I myself no longer rush to the stands to get a print magazine. Though I miss turning down the page corners of fashions I love, I find myself turning more to the Web and bookmarking. On the web I can find various media outlets that speak to me, cover people I want to read about, write about issues that I, as a black woman, want to ponder. Though not as physically satisfying as turning the pages and holding a magazine in hand, the stories I now read on the Web are stimulating my brain and my emotions in ways that traditional women’s magazines aren’t.

Despite Continued Criticism Over Its Boston Marathon Manhunt Coverage, CNN Wins In The Ratings

April 23rd, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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cnn_arrest_grabYou know your news broadcast has problems when Don Imus feels entitled to criticize it. CNN continues to feel the heat resulting from their coverage of the manhunt for the teenage suspect in the Boston Marathon attack, which both erroneously reported that there had been an arrest before there was one, and reported that the suspect was a “dark-skinned male.”

“I just want to know what happened,” Imus said on the air today. “Just tell me what happened.” (He calls their reporting “hyper-bolay”… LOL.)

And once again, Jon Stewart went in mercilessly on CNN on The Daily Show, not just for the content, but for the seeming disorganization between the reporters and the control room in their ongoing race to report all the things they don’t know.

But pay the facts no nevermind, say the viewers. Reports The New York Times:

CNN averaged 2.9 million viewers for its daylong coverage, behind the 3.2 million who watched Fox News. But among viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, which is how advertisers buy commercials on news channels, CNN had 1.34 million viewers, compared with 952,000 for Fox News. In both cases those were the best numbers for CNN for all nonpolitical events since April 2003, when the channel was covering the Iraq war.

The question is whether this a momentary bump or something the network can carry through. More than that, there’s the issue of CNN’s reputation. Already tarnished for their bloopers while reporting the Supreme Court decision on President Obama’s healthcare plan (CNN said it had been struck down), the reporting last week definitely didn’t help. In this column by the Times‘ David Carr, he notes that people want CNN to succeed, but “hugely embarrassing” incidents like the one last week undermine it. And they’re messing up at a time when people are paying attention to the changes that new president Jeff Zucker is putting into place. Carr writes:

Part of the reason that we still want CNN to be great is that at a moment when information and news seem to have done a jailbreak — bursting forth everywhere in all sorts of ways — it would be nice to have a village common where a reliable provider of news held the megaphone. By marketing itself as the most trusted name in news, CNN is and should be held to a higher standard.

And for his efforts, John King remains on the air. He addressed his coverage on Twitter, and it’s worth noting that other outlets, including the AP, said they had sources stating an arrest had been made. And King said he also had sources telling him the suspect was dark-skinned. Now he’s off to Texas to interview President George W. Bush about his new presidential library, which will be opening on May 1.

“The challenge for us is how to make CNN more essential, how to make it one of the four tires on the car,” Zucker said at an Atlanta Press Club event last month. To be more essential, the network has to be more careful and less ridiculous.


Why The Media Needs To Lay Off The Obama’s Marriage

April 10th, 2013 - By madamenoire
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: WENN

From TheGrio

For several months in 2011, the world of hopeful romantics was tilted on its axis. Rumors swirled and swelled and were splashed across gossip sites and magazines “reporting” the end of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s then-15 year marriage. Pinkett-Smith finally addressed the hearsay head on with French magazine Gala: “Every year, one celebrity couple is under the microscope. This year, unluckily, it’s us!”

Well, it’s a new year, and an unlikely couple has taken The Smith’s unfortunate spot. A pair of gaffes by President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama has drawn new scrutiny upon their 20-year marriage and folks have been steadily weighing in.

The president’s “big” gaffe

During a recent speech at a Democratic National Committee luncheon in California, President Obama gave a “shot out” to California Attorney General Kamala Harris. “She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated, she’s tough,” Obama said. “She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general … It’s true! C’mon,” he added.

The remark was swiftly derided in many circles. Writing for New York magazine, Jonathan Chait called Obama’s comments “disgraceful.” ”Women have a hard time being judged purely on their merits,” he wrote. “Discussing their appearance in the context of evaluating their job performance makes it worse.”

Yet for others, it was nothing worth noting. At The Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart scoffed at criticism of the president’s remarks, suggesting that detractors “lighten up.”

The president apologized to Harris anyway, the same night.

The first lady calls herself “single,” the press runs with it

However, it was a misstep by the first lady on the same day that turned up the attention on the state of the first marriage. Mrs. Obama described herself as a “busy single mother” during a recent television interview, but quickly corrected her mistake. “You know, when you’ve got the husband who’s president, it can feel a little single — but he’s there,” Obama told a CBS local station. She then described herself as a “busy working mom” instead.

New York’s Daily News referred to these twin slips of tongue as “double trouble for the First Family,” stirring up an air of negative innuendo around the Obama’s relationship. Some commenters on the highly-covered story even wondered how Mrs. Obama felt about his public compliments of another woman — especially in the context of misstating herself as being a “single mom.”

As much as I love to generate a juicy story on an otherwise slow news day, there’s not much to see here, folks. These slip ups don’t reveal anything about the Obama marriage other than that the participants in it, despite their fame, are regular folks who make ill-timed comments and may struggle to find a work-home balance just like the rest of us.


Who’s More Responsible For The Negativity In Hip-Hop, The Artists Or The Industry?

March 20th, 2013 - By madamenoire
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

From The Grio

Is hip-hop destroying black America?  To answer this question fairly, we must first discard the distorted image of hip hop that mainstream media has passed off for the past 20 years.

Hip-hop is a movement consisting of four main artistic elements: DJ’ing, rapping, breaking and graffiti.  But at its core, it is a philosophy based on the idea that self expression is an integral part of the pursuit of peace, love and unity. It was created by young visionaries who tapped into their greatest potential and gave birth to one of the most important cultural phenomenon the world has ever seen.

Shaped by the spirit of Africa, The Carribean and black America, it is a culture that binds us under the belief that we must strive for excellence through our respective art forms, as well as within our souls.  It’s a lifestyle that unites people from the U.S to Nigeria, France to Brazil, Japan to Mexico, often unable to speak each other’s language but fully capable of understanding all that makes us who we are.



Jada Pinkett Thinks The Media Bullies Young Celebs, Do You Agree?

March 12th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Jada Pinkett has been using her Facebook page to air out all sorts of social commentaries lately. Last week, she asked why so many heterosexual women were turning to other women as a last romantic resort, on Saturday, she talked about the oppression men have been forced to endure, and on Sunday she spoke out on what she considers to be bullying towards young celebrities at the hands of the media. She wrote in her post titled, “Are We Bullying Our Young Artists,” which included a photo of Rihanna, Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift, and Quvenzhané Wallis:

How can we ask for our young stars to have a high level of responsibility if we are not demonstrating that same level of responsibility towards them?

This last week, I had to really evaluate the communication in regard to our young artists in the media. I was trying to differentiate cyber-bullying from how we attack and ridicule our young stars through media and social networks. It is as if we have forgotten what it means to be young or even how to behave like good ol’ grown folk. Do we feel as though we can say and do what we please without demonstrating any responsibility simply because they are famous?

Is it okay to continually attack and criticize a famous 19 year old who is simply trying to build a life, exercise his talents while figuring out what manhood and fame is all about as he carries the weight of supporting his family as well as providing the paychecks to others who depend on him to work so they can feed their families as well? Does that render being called a Douchebag by an adult male photographer as you try to return to your hotel after leaving the the hospital? Or what about our nine year old beautiful Oscar nominee who was referred to as a Douchebag as well? Or what about being a young woman in her early twenties, exploring the intricacies of love and power on the world stage? And should we shame a young woman for displaying a sense of innocence as she navigates through the murky waters of love, heartbreak, and fame? Are these young people not allowed to be young, make mistakes, grow, and eventually transform a million times before our eyes? Are we asking them to defy the laws of nature because of who they are? Why can’t we congratulate them for the capacity to work through their challenges on a world stage and still deliver products that keep them on top.

We all know how hard it is to keep our head above water, even in the privacy of our own homes let alone on the world stage. Imagine yourself, at their age, with the spotlights, challenges and responsibilities. Most of us would have fallen to the waste side before we could even get to a crashed Ferrari, a controversial romance, several heart breaks, or an Oscar nomination at NINE. We WISH we could have had the capacity to accomplish HALF of what they have accomplished along with ALL these challenges they face. But…maybe THAT’S the problem…we WISH we could have or even…we WISH we could.

I don’t know if I would put Rihanna in the same boat as a young actress like Quvenzhané, but I do get  the point Jada is trying to make — though at some point I think we need to ask whether some of these stars have made their own beds long before the media got a hold of their rude boy behavior.

As a general rule though, name calling is never an appropriate exchange among anyone personally or professionally, particularly when there is a marked age difference between the parties, but someone needs to take it upon themselves to educate these young artists on the type of consequences that come along with acting out under such a huge spotlight. The blame can be equally split between these two parties.

What do you think about what Jada wrote?

“Black Media Legend” Sue Simmons Says Her Final Months at WNBC Were “Pretty Much a Nightmare”

February 5th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Sue Simmons with her former co-anchor, Chuck Scarborough, in October. via AP Images

Sue Simmons with her former co-anchor, Chuck Scarborough, in October. via AP Images

On Monday, McDonald’s restaurants in the New York area honored Black Media Legends and Trailblazers at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria. Among the honorees were CNN’s Don Lemon, The Grio and MSNBC contributor Joy-Ann Reid, and Power 105’s DJ Clue.

But the name on everyone’s lips, reports Fishbowl NY, was Sue Simmons. After 32 years as a local New York newscaster with WNBC, her contract wasn’t renewed and she left the anchor desk for the last time in June.

In an interview with the website, Simmons said that she was hoping something would happen to keep her in her job.

“The last several months from March to June was pretty much a nightmare for me,” she said. “Because after you’ve worked with your teams and your friends for that long it’s very difficult to come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to be anymore.”

She adds that she “got the feeling that they had softened their position” and was surprised when she hadn’t.

Chuck Scarborough with his new co-anchor, Shiba Russell. via AP Images

Chuck Scarborough with his new co-anchor, Shiba Russell. via AP Images

Comcast and NBC announced a merger in 2009, and it was ultimately approved by the FCC in 2011. Shiba Russell is now sharing the anchor duties with Chuck Scarborough. He has been with the broadcast since 1974. (Simmons joined in 1980).

“The positive of it is that another black person is employed in television in a high-visible spot. The negative of it for me is it looks like they’re trying to duplicate,” she says.

In the exhaustive interview with Fishbowl NY, Simmons says she’s still interested in television, but would like to try something different, like being a “talking head.”

For longtime New Yorkers (or natives, like myself), Sue Simmons was a fixture on television. It would be great to see her back on the air.

Donna Brazile, Roland Martin Could Be Next To Leave CNN

January 31st, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The cuts at CNN could get deeper very quickly.

Just yesterday, we reported that Soledad O’Brien has been removed from her morning anchor position, among other changes. Now, Fishbowl DC is reporting that Roland Martin and Donna Brazile could be the next two on the chopping block. The website notes that three new faces — civil rights activist Van Jones, The New York Times’ Charles Blow, and Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher — have appeared regularly on the network as of late. And both Martin and Brazile were excluded from the network’s coverage of the inauguration.

Charles Blow. via Twitter

Charles Blow. via Twitter

Brazile is also an ABC correspondent; Martin has a program on TV One and serves as an analyst on Tom Joyner’s program.

In other media news, Long anticipated cuts are going to be made at Time Inc., which, like many media companies, is suffering at the hands of dropping newsstand readership and advertising sales. According to Bloomberg, 500 positions are being eliminated, about six percent of the company’s workforce. Essence, Real Simple, and People are among the magazine titles at Time. Cuts are expected across all divisions.

Tuned Out: Obama Inauguration Saw Television Viewer Ratings Drop

January 23rd, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Perhaps it wasn’t as much of an historic occasion this time around (although the re-election of our first black President is a very big deal). That could explain the viewing drop off for Monday’s inaugural events.

The 2013 Inauguration of President Obama pulled in fewer television viewers than in 2009, when he became the first African American to take the highest office in the United States. According to The Hollywood Reporter, cable news viewership dropped by roughly 10 million during the half-hour swearing in, with CNN topping MSNBC and Fox News Channel. Nielsen’s Fast National ratings for the Monday event were not surprisingly down.  Combined averages from CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel was just about seven million viewers.

For the special coverage, CNN averaged 3.14 million viewers during the swearing in, 1.11 million of them in the key 25-to-54 age demographic. During primetime, CNN averaged 3.57 million total viewers, with 1.27 million adults ages 25-to-54 watching.

Compare this to Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony, which averaged nearly 38 million viewers with cable and broadcast networks combined.

Did you watch this year?

Condoleezza Rice Is TV’s Latest Pundit With CBS News Gig

January 21st, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Northfoto /

Northfoto /

Condoleezza Rice is coming to television. CBS News chairman, Jeff Fager, and the president of the news network, David Rhodes, announced that Rice will be coming on board as a regular contributor. The Hollywood Reporter quotes a CBS statement, saying the former Secretary of State “will use her insight and vast experience to explore issues facing America at home and abroad.”

Rice, who currently holds the position of professor of political science at Stanford University, was Secretary of State under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009, and national security adviser from 2001 to 2005.

Rice isn’t the only Bush cabinet member to make the jump to TV. “Other figures from the Bush administration have been hired as television commentators, including Karl Rove, the former deputy chief of staff, and the former United Nations ambassador, John Bolton, both at Fox News,” reports the NY Times.

Rice is also a founding partner of a business consulting firm, RiceHadleyGates. She’s also one of the first women to be admitted to the Augusta National Golf Club, and was even tossed into the ring of future presidential candidates after her speech at the Republican National Convention last year.

A New African ‘Face’ Hits Newsstands

January 14th, 2013 - By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
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Africa has been the object of much attention lately as saturated markets in America and Europe have caused many to seek opportunity on the continent. Answering this new wave of interest, Africa-centric magazines and digital destinations like AriseAfriPOP!, Orijin Culture, and MIMI magazine have cropped up, while L’Uomo Vogue dedicated its June 2012 issue to the continent. Now, New York-based Ghana native Sandra Appiah has launched Face 2 Face Africa magazine with business partner Isaac O. Babu-Boateng.

With no major investment behind the venture, and determined to launch in costly print even as publications like Newsweek are migrating to digital, Appiah, 23, only four years out of Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications, is unwavering in her belief in the magazine. What’s so special about Face 2 Face Africa, or F2FA as she’s nicknamed the magazine? Appiah makes the case.

Madame Noire: Why did you start Face2Face Africa (F2FA)?
Sandra Appiah: F2FA was conceptualized about two years ago to fill the void of a high-end, multi-niche, and soulful pan-African publication within the global magazine industry, and serve as an influential platform for the emergent generation of African descendants. We believe that an informed, enterprising, and interconnected pan-African generation deserves a discerning, eclectic, and soulful voice. Our goal, simply put, is to be this VOICE!

MN: How did you launch the magazine without major investment or backing?
SA: The lack of funding definitely posed a lot of challenges and elongated the release of the magazine. We were married to our goal of creating an outstanding product, and as such, we had to be very patient and strategically secure the resources that we needed. But once we started moving, we were very fortunate to receive a lot of support from individuals who identified with the importance of our mission. We utilized all our resources, and with persistence, devotion, and passion, we successfully launched. I’ve learned that when your passion burns, it turns into the investment that you need to keep going!

MN: Why did you decide to create a printed magazine in the age of digital?
SA: It is important to us that our publication has a presence on magazine stands. Sure, some experts say that print is dying, but there have remained quite a few print titles that continue to make an impact. I think the key is creating a niche and filling a void.

Certainly, F2FA is unique, as there is no existing publication that does exactly what we do in the way that we do it. We do have plans on being eminent on the digital platform so we can better serve the needs of all our readers.

MN: How is F2FA different from Arise, and other African lifestyle pubs on stands?
SA: These are all great publications that I give a lot of credit for showcasing Africa in a positive and progressive light, however, they are all known for a specific concentration, being fashion, culture, or entertainment, which is great. But what we wanted to do with F2FA was to be the bridge. As such, we take pride in being multi-niche, a platform for all areas including politics, development, entertainment, culture, and fashion. We are distinctive for our holistic approach and the unique perspectives of our writers and contributors. Our tone and creative direction are also different. It is important to us that African images, concepts and ideals are infused in our creative and artistic direction. This is where the soulfulness of our magazine comes from.